The next $1,100 Main Event on Season 5 of the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) will kick off on Thursday, May 15 at MSPT FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan. In the three stops leading up to FireKeepers, the MSPT set state records in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, so the big question is whether or not they can do it in the Wolverine State.
“The MSPT is looking forward to returning to FireKeepers for the third time,” said MSPT owner and operator Bryan Mileski. “The stop has proven tremendously successful, and we’re looking forward to continuing the Season 5 trend of setting new records. Michigan has a strong poker presence, and we expect many of the state’s best to come compete against players who make the trip throughout the Midwest.”
As Mileski said, this is the third time the MSPT will visit the property. The first time was in March 2013, and 272 entrants created a prize pool of $272,000. Thomas Midena ultimately emerged victorious to win a $73,456 first-place prize. In August 2013, the MSPT returned and the field grew to 301 entrants, which created a prize pool of $301,000. Jordan Townsend defeated Adam Lamphere in heads-up play to win that tournament for $76,975.
PokerNews recently spoke with Kelley Bailey, Poker Manager at FireKeepers, about what to expect for the upcoming MSPT.
PokerNews: Can you describe the poker room at the FireKeepers?
Bailey: FireKeepers Casino Hotel features a spacious 14 table non-smoking poker room with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Our most popular game is $1/$2 no-limit Texas hold’em with a buy-in of $50-$400. The larger than usual buy-in range — up to $400 — is quite a draw for the room and appeals to a much broader range of players. We spread $1/$2 pot-limit Omaha as well as $2/$5 on demand and limit Texas hold’em.
In addition to a bad beat jackpot, we offer daily high hand bonuses as well as specialty promotions throughout the year.
FireKeepers Casino Hotel offers tournaments seven days a week; Monday through Friday at 12 p.m., Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m., 10 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. On the 2nd & 4th Sunday of each month we offer an extremely popular $220 + $20 Deep Stack tournament. Additionally, we have our Player of the Year Tournament of Champions promotion in which all of our weekly tournaments qualify players to earn points for the $25,000 Grand Finale event in February 2015.
We have recently installed Bravo Poker Management system in the poker room. Now players may download the free smartphone app and get live updates on what is going on at FireKeepers Poker Room.
This marks the third time the MSPT is coming to FireKeepers. What inspires you to bring the MSPT to town so much?
FireKeepers is proud to be the Michigan tour stop for the Mid-States Poker Tour and the destination for the Michigan State Championship. With each MSPT tournament series we have experienced an increase in player participation as well as notoriety for being a stop on the tour. MSPT has done a wonderful job in expanding their product and establishing their brand in the premier tournament arena. We are pleased to continue to offer players in Michigan and surrounding areas the opportunity to play in this tournament series.
Are there any other events going on players should check out when in town for the MSPT?
There is always a lot to do around FireKeepers Casino Hotel. Over the days of the Main Event, another fun item that sticks out is our BINGLO, held Friday evening at 10:30 p.m. in our bingo room. Featuring a live DJ, drink specials, fun games and great prizes, it is a party definitely worth attending. We also will have acoustic entertainment from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening in Kabaret Lounge.
What sort of things has the FireKeepers been doing to prepare for the MSPT?
We again will offer an expanded tournament area to accommodate a larger player pool for the event. We have also worked diligently to promote the event both internally and externally. We post winners of the qualifiers on our Facebook page and website, and post schedules of events in the Poker Room.
Are FireKeepers players excited for the MSPT? Has there been a general excitement in the room?
Yes, players, dealers, everyone is truly excited to have MSPT return. As you well know the MSPT was established to cater to these players in this region, and you can sense the appreciation they have for that.
Can you tell us a little about your property and the surrounding area?
FireKeepers Casino opened in August of 2009, with the Hotel and Conference Center additions being added in December of 2012. Located off of I-94 close to I-69, FireKeepers Casino Hotel is the premiere casino in the Midwest. Taking influence from the legendary Nevada destination, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi created a beautiful Las Vegas styled property featuring over 2,900 slots, 70 Table Games, a 14 table poker room, four different bars and lounge areas, a 242 room Hotel, six restaurants, and an event center that features superb headline acts and shows.
If you had to recommend three things for players to do other than poker while at FireKeepers Casino Hotel, what would they be?
Outside of the Poker room, guests can enjoy a fantastic beverage at the newly remodeled Kabaret Lounge. Featuring acoustic acts, local Michigan craft beer, and an aura of upscale fun the new Kabaret is sure to delight any patron. The second recommendation we have is for all our patrons and visitors to download the FireKeepers Casino Hotel App, available for free download at your app store. The app is a must have for any guest with its slot locator, free games and useful information. Lastly, do not let the good times end with poker. FireKeepers Casino Hotel offers lots of exciting entertainment with tournaments for other table games and slots throughout the month. Check online for details, and make sure you’ve signed up with our Red Hot Rewards Club so we can send you updates and offers.
Where’s the best place to eat at FireKeepers Casino Hotel, or what is the best kept secret at the property?
That depends on what you like! While we take a lot of pride in our world class steak house, Nibi, many enjoy the barbecue accented cuisine at Smoke ‘n Fire. One secret that is sure to get your taste buds going is that Café 24/7, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., has an exclusive late night menu featuring tantalizing buffalo chicken chips that many guests wish they could get around the clock.
For a look at the entire MSPT FireKeepers schedule, click here. Remember, the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to live report the Main Event, so when the time comes, be sure to check out our Live Reporting Section for updates.